What are Sunspots.

August 05, 2018
“Sunspots are one of the most important pieces of the sun,” says Shin Toriumi, a scientist with the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.

Sunspots are the most active, intense areas on the surface of the Sun. This is where the magnetic force is so crowded up not allowing the heat to escape. As a result, the Sun’s surface at these areas is darker and cooler than its surroundings, but still very bright.

The photosphere, which is the surface of the Sun, has a temperature of 5,800 degrees Kelvin. Sunspots have temperatures of about 3,800 degrees K. They look dark only in comparison with the brighter and hotter regions of the photosphere around them.

Do you want to know how a solar activity takes place?

Let’s take one analogy of a rubber band. Just like the rubber band that can be twisted and pulled, so the magnetic fields gets twisted and pulled in the same way. Now can you think of the rubber band snapping? Sometimes, when the magnetic field suddenly breaks around a sunspot, energy gets released and plasma explodes into space. These explosions are called solar flares and coronal mass ejections and can cause magnetic storms that can temporarily destroy Earth’s satellites, electricity, communications, and pose a great danger to astronauts as well. Another analogy is a soda pop bottle. When shaken, the pressure builds inside the soda can that makes the energy explode once it is opened. This is how solar activity usually takes place.

These sunspots posses a great value to astronomers and scientists. They help to determine when the magnetic storms could occur and how it affects the Earth’s climate respectively.

There number of sunspots present is never constant. At times there are large numbers of it, other times few and sometimes none. However, the sunspot counts rise and fall every 11 years on the average. This is a regular cycle. The life of each sunspot lasts from a few hours to a few months.

Post Written by -  Adap Immanuel Teron

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